With a short offseason and compressed 2020-21 schedule, fixture congestion and tired players is a major talking point for fans, pundits, and managers right now, and the knock-on effects could spread beyond the current season.
Confirmation of that came today from Egypt’s U23 manager, Shawky Gharib, who made clear his desire to call up Mohamed Salah as one of three over-age players for the delayed 2020 Olympics, now set to take place in Tokyo next summer.
“The team’s technical staff and the Egyptian Football Association have the desire to call up Mohamed Salah for the Olympics,” Gharib stated. “Salah is a world class player and I hope that he will be able to play with us in the Olympics.
“When you have such a player in your team, the objectives of the team would be different. Brazil won the gold medal in Rio De Janeiro thanks to Neymar who led the Brazilian team in this competition.”
The 28-year-old Salah has at times had a contentious relationship with his national team following a negative experience at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, and his involvement in next summer’s Olympics would hinge on his willingness to participate.
If he does, he would potentially face another summer without a significant break from football, as well as missing Liverpool’s pre-season and—if Egypt were to advance in the tournament—the opening weeks of the 2021-22 campaign.